A Parchment of Leaves by Silas House

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When Silas House made his debut with Clay's Quilt last year, it touched a nerve not just in his home state (where it quickly became a bestseller), but all across the country. Glowing reviews-from USA Today (House is letter-perfect with his first novel), to the Philadelphia Inquirer (Compelling. . . . House knows what's important and reminds us of the value of family and home, love and loyalty), to the Mobile Register (Poetic, haunting), and everywhere in between-established him as a writer to watch.

His second novel won't disappoint. Set in 1917, A PARCHMENT OF LEAVES tells the story of Vine, a beautiful Cherokee woman who marries a white man, forsaking her family and their homeland to settle in with his people and make a home in the heart of the mountains. Her mother has strange forebodings that all will not go well, and she's right. Vine is viewed as an outsider, treated with contempt by other townspeople. Add to that her brother-in-law's fixation on her, and Vine's life becomes more complicated than she could have ever imagined. In the violent turn of events that ensues, she learns what it means to forgive others and, most important, how to forgive herself.

As haunting as an old-time ballad, A PARCHMENT OF LEAVES is filled with the imagery, dialect, music, and thrumming life of the Kentucky mountains. For Silas House, whose great-grandmother was Cherokee, this novel is also a tribute to the family whose spirit formed him.


About Silas House

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Silas House is the nationally best-selling author of Eli the Good as well as the award-winning novels Clay's Quilt, A Parchment of Leaves, and The Coal Tattoo. He is an associate professor at Berea College and lives in eastern Kentucky. Neela Vaswani is the award-winning author of You Have Given Me a Country and Where the Long Grass Bends. Her work has received an American Book Award, an O. Henry Prize, and a ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award. She teaches at Spalding University's MFA in writing program and is the founder of the Storylines Project with the New York Public Library. Neela Vaswani lives in New York City.
Published August 16, 2002 by Algonquin Books. 288 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Breathtaking both for its beauty and its pain, House's second (after Clay's Quilt, 2001) tells a finely nuanced tale of a Kentucky mountain family in the tumultuous WWI era, as the taking of a Cherokee bride unleashes passions that create life and destroy it.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of A Parchment of Leaves

Publishers Weekly

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House offers a poignant, evocative look at the turmoil that plagues a rural Kentucky family during WWI in his solid second novel, which begins when Saul Sullivan takes a shine to a mysterious, beautiful Cherokee woman named Vine.

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Book Reporter

Saul and Vine are patterns in the changing landscape, leaves that blow and resettle with the passing winds.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of A Parchment of Leaves


Vine's mother, who hasn't forgotten the trespasses against her people by the whites, is filled with a sense of foreboding when she hears of Vine's plans to marry a white man.As the years pass and it becomes increasingly clear that Vine's brother-in-law, Aaron, is obsessed with her, the sense of f...

Jul 06 2017 | Read Full Review of A Parchment of Leaves

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